Federal government urged to give convicted pot possessors clean slate

Federal government urged to give convicted pot possessors clean slate

Ryan Flanagan, Web Journalist, CTVNews.ca


Published Tuesday, August 28, 2018 1:57PM EDT

A group urging the Canadian government to wipe the criminal records of anyone convicted of marijuana possession is getting a boost from one of the world’s biggest producers of cannabis.

Aurora Cannabis announced Monday that it was donating $50,000 to the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.

“This is something that we feel very passionate about,” Cam Battley, Aurora’s chief corporate officer, told CTV Toronto. “Canada’s doing the right thing by legalizing cannabis for consumer use and removing the criminal prohibitions. Now it’s time to clean the records.”

An estimated 500,000 Canadians have been convicted of marijuana possession for personal use. According to the campaign, low-income Canadians, Indigenous Canadians and visible minorities are disproportionately represented in this group.

“We have a moment of opportunity here for reconciliation, for rationality to come to the fore, to bring in a more just system,” Battley said. “Let’s show the rest of the world the way it should be done – the Canadian way.”

Toronto resident Kani Malale says he has multiple possession charges on his record. He says he is searched for marijuana every time he is pulled over by police or tries to cross the border, and worries that it also impedes his ability to find employment.

“I never know if I’ve been turned away from a job because of cannabis or if I’ve been over looked because of my record,” he said.

Malale says he is concerned his marijuana possession will continue to complicate his life in the future, which won’t be the case for anyone found with a small amount of marijuana on or after the Oct. 17 legalization date.

“I’d like to not have that stigma over me when I apply for a job, when I apply for a home, when I cross the border,” he said.

Campaign director Annamaria Enenajour agrees. By now contending that personal use of marijuana is not harmful to society, she argues, the federal government should extend that argument to include people who possessed marijuana while it was illegal.

“These are individuals who have had to pay the price for their conduct at a time when the conduct was illegal,” she said. “The government is now saying it is no longer illegal, but they’re saddled with lifelong consequences.”

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman



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